It was a gorgeous day, just perfect for cycling. We headed down to the meeting point for the Lambeth cyclists and were led via Clapham Common to Hyde Park. It was really well organised, with cyclists blocking traffic to let the group through as one. This meant we could keep together. We had one of two impatient drivers, but they were very patient on the whole. I think they may have been startled to see 40 cyclists together in South London.
When we crossed over to Hyde Park, the drivers were really honking on their horns, trying to get passed. This infuriated me, as it did other cyclists. It's a park! Motorists should give way to cyclists and pedestrians as it is. Surely waiting a few minutes isn't going to cause a huge amount of inconvenience. Tch.
Once in Hyde Park, we met up with all the other groups who'd cycled to the gather point from the outer London boroughs. The streets were closed off with police staffing the junctions and volunteers stopping the ride for pedestrians to cross. It was extremely well thought through. And what a joy to cycle from Streatham to central London in a group on roads fit for cyclists.
Several speakers addressed the crowd at the event - the LCC campaigners, Val Shawcross (Labour), Caroline Pidgeon (Liberal Democrat), Natalie Bennett (Green Party) and Andrew Gillingham. It sounds like there's a lot happening for cyclists in inner London starting in September, with segregated cycling routes being built. As each speaker stressed, 95% of the roads in London are owned by borough councils and people need to put pressure on their council at a local level.
In my borough, Lambeth, only 52% of councillors support Space For Cycling. This is shocking - it's a no-brainer to help people on their bicycles, both health-wise and transport-wise, and for what about the joy of travelling. On a bicycle, you can interact with people, smile and say 'Good morning'. You can take your time, hear the birds singing, catch the scent of honeysuckle, stop in a park to sit on a bench and watch the world go by, spontaneously buy some cake/bread/chocolate from a wee shop you've just spotted, and arrive at work or back at home knowing that you've had an hour of exercise and there's no need for the gym.
More on the ride from the London Cycling Campaign here.
For the latest fatality, on a junction built three years ago and deemed 'safe for cyclists,' see here: Elephant and Castle death. There's a draw-in, die-in on Wednesday evening at this spot: Elephant and Castle awareness.